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Archive for the ‘Random Doodlings’ Category

Pirates, You Be Bleedin’ Me Dry. Please Stop.

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

piracy Ok, so I’ve now lost count of the number of piracy sites that have my books up for illegal download as bit torrents or as pdfs or as so called ‘e-books’  The general advice in these cases, is to go to each site and ‘politely ask them to take your book down’.  Apparently, ‘they never refuse’. Yeah. So I’m being asked to trawl the net on a daily basis hunting down and finding these sites, then ‘politely asking’ them not to steal my work?

Believe it or not, I have neither the patience nor the time.

Pirates and pirate-site users, I’m not going to give you the ‘I have a family to support and these books are my lively hood’ speech. I’m not going to give you the ‘musicians, artists and writers are the only folks in the world who have to justify getting paid for their work’ speech, I’m not even going to point out that ‘if my sales are low my publishers will think twice about publishing another of my books.’

To do that would be to assume that you are too stupid to know any of that for yourselves.

I’m just going to ask you to stop. Ok? Stop stealing money from my pocket, sales from my reputation, and business from the legit booksellers and sites who legally support me and others like me. If you can’t afford to buy my work then, please, go to the library - at least they keep track of how many times the books are checked out - and those reports go back to my publishers, and believe it or not, that’s important.

Shameless linkaging

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

I’ve just put the structural edits on Ghostbook to bed, and I’m in the middle of doing up the latest issue of the newsletter. So I’m shamelessly filching the interestingness of other for your edification and amusement. The trio of links to follow are two causes I am devoted to and one very interesting article which talks about those neglected folks in the book world - the readers.


One: That Lunatic Dave Maybury is growing a tasche to support Prostate Cancer research. Everyone who knows me, knows that this cause is unfortunately one very close to my heart. Not to put too fine a point on it DONATE!


Two: Sakineh Ashtiani is still in danger of execution. As far as I know, her son and her lawyer are still in jail for thier attempts to save her from the Iranian justice system. Please take a moment ( literally one moment of your time) to not only potentially save Sakineh’s life again, but to show the Iranian government that we notice and care. Send a message HERE


Thirdly and on a lighter note. This is a very interesting piece by Laura Miller on her attitude to NanoWriMO. I’ve nothing against NaNoWriMo myself, but this article brings up many things I agree with. The most resonant line for me? ‘ far more money can be made out of people who want to write novels than out of people who want to read them’ You can say that again.

Read Laura’s article here

Writing and Writer’s Workshops

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

The dog ate my homework.

The dog ate my homework.

I have a writer’s workshop coming up soon, so I’ve been going through my notes and reminding myself of what it is I wish to convey and how to best go about communicating it to my students. I can’t stand waffling and hot air, so I tend to give very short very concentrated workshops. They last a week maximum ( sometimes in the case of workshops given to schools, the week is spread out in little pieces over a month or more) I don’t tend to focus on ‘voice’ or ‘finding your story’ or any of the other more esoteric subjects. My aim is simply to bring the participants back to the basics and to have them build themselves up from that base level, a piece at a time, until they’ve explored what it is they are writing and how they are writing it.

Often folks turn up with their own work in hand ( sometimes entire novels) thinking that they are joining a critique group. I hate to see the disappointment in their faces when they realise that they are not going to have the chance to share their baby with the class. It’s a very understandable disappointment. Writing is possibly the loneliest job in the world and sometimes the need to share is so bad it hurts. READ THE REST

It gets better. Believe it.

Monday, September 27th, 2010

It’s so difficult when you are a teen ( gay, straight or otherwise) to forget that there will be life after school.

Believe me, there will be life after school. It will be amazing. Dan Savage and his husband Terry can attest to this. Listen to them.

Many thanks to for this .

Bette & Joan: The Divine Feud

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

20th Anniversary Edition of My Favourite Guilty Pleasure

20th Anniversary Edition of My Favourite Guilty Pleasure

Hi guys, I am up to my eyeballs at the moment, catching up on long neglected reader mails and sign ups for the newsletter**, plus doing promotional work for the Irish release of The Rebel Prince and UK release of The Crowded Shadows***, not to mention trying hard to maintain my daily writing schedule. (all of which is code for ‘I love my life, I just wish I didn’t have to sleep.’)

Anyhoo - in the midst of all this mayhem and madness I got an e-mail which thrilled and delighted me, and I thought I’d share it with you. I was recently asked to name a book I’d read more than once. And I admitted that one of my all time favourite re-reads is a book called Bette and Joan: The Divine Feud, by Shaun Considine. I love this book!

Well, guess who wrote to me on foot of the interview? Only Shaun Considine himself! It turns out that this year is the 2oth anniversary of B&J:TDF! Just look at the fantastic anniversay cover. I think I’m going to have to get me some of that baby.

I’m so grateful to Shaun for getting in touch - it was a huge thrill to hear from him. If you have time, go check out Seriously, it’s well worth a look. I can’t think of one 70’s era star or entertainment personality that this guy hasn’t met, interviewed or photographed ( his photo’s are awesome)


** I’m so sorry.  Honestly, I feel so rotten when I leave the letters so long to get to. But today today I promise to catch up. *** US edition has been out for a month.

Galaxy Bookshop interview & WIP excerpt

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

galaxy1The lovely folks in The Galaxy Bookshop in Sydney Australia were bonkers enough to interview me recently. They’ve now put the interviews up on their blog if you fancy going over and having a peek.

The interview took two parts. First, as part of their gloriously named Raw Quill series, Galaxy asked me what I’m working on right now.

It’s a Victorian creeptacular, set in 1890’s Ireland about three teens who find themselves caught up in the dealings of two very very old pirates. I’ve got to say that sometimes I think this project is going to kill me! I’m about three quarters of the way through and as usual I’m trying something I’ve never done before

you can read the rest ( including a tiny tiny excerpt) HERE

And then we had some fun discussing books etc

Making me laugh is a dangerous (to me) and amusing ( to onlookers) pass time in my family. I have a tendency to go blotchily red, then cry profusely, then emit some snot, then fall over in an uncontrollable asthma fit. My kids won’t go to funny pictures with me any more. If you would like to induce this appallingly unattractive state in me you can try handing me a copy of...

you can read the rest of this interview HERE


In unrelated news  reader sent me some incredibly beautiful art today. As soon as I get a chance I’ll post the pictures, because they’re just too lovely not to share.

Joy and ‘The Same Unusual Vowel Shortage.’

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

Joy's Choice for Marni. (Brenda Fricker)

Joy's Choice for Marni. (Brenda Fricker)

Many thanks to Joy who sent me just the most entertaining entry to the Rebel Prince competition yesterday. Not only did she cast Wynter, Christopher and Razi, but it feels like she cast the entire crew of The Poison Throne! What fun. I have so many ‘extras’ cast now that I’ve decided I’m going to do a wee post after the competition showing all the various ‘other’ characters that folks have sent along with their entries. Some of them are hilarious - I love them.

In her mail, Joy mentioned that her choice of actress for the role of Wynter suffers from what she called ‘the same unusual vowel shortage’ in her name. (HAH! Great phrase.) I thought you might like to hear the origins of the name? No? You couldn’t care less? Don’t care, gonna tell you anyway.

Although it was not used as a first name in medieval or renaissance Europe ( and isn’t in Moorehawke either, as anyone who has read The Crowded Shadows will know.) wynter was a common enough nick-name ( meaning miserable or unfortunate person) and a surname. I might be wrong, but as far as I know English spellings weren’t standardised until some time in the early to mid 18c (1700’s) so it’s not uncommon for there to be may different spellings of the one word. The spelling wynter is one of the many different medieval/renaissance variations of the word we now universally spell as winter, and meant the same thing ( the season of winter.) This variation of spelling is still reflected today in the many many different spellings of surnames which all mean the same thing - so in relation to winter we have the surnames Winter, Wynter, Wintour, Winterr, Winteer etc all basically meaning Winter but reflective of the many historical spellings of the word.

So, why chose to spell her name Wynter when I don’t have pyrates or tygers? Well, originally I did have pyrates and tygers, but they annoyed the be-jazuz out of me, so I changed them. Frankly, Wynter didn’t annoy the be-jazuz out of me, I bloody well liked it. So it stayed. ( good job too - considering I’d like to set a sequel up north in the snow. It’ll be nice not to have Winter suffering the effects of winter, LOL!)

Rebel Prince competition deadline is looming fast folks! Best hurry.

Competition Countdown

Competition Countdown

Perfume, and Only Five Days Left

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Sorry I’ve been so quiet recently I have been knackered and wan, and generally lolling about like a great useless blob. Yesterday I did practically nothing but read. I did watch the film adaptation of ‘Perfume’ though.

Rachel Hurd-Wood as Laure in Perfume

Rachel Hurd-Wood as Laure in Perfume

Not sure what I thought of the film - maybe it would have helped had I not read Patrick Süskind’s book beforehand? After the book ( which I had  thought would be unfilmable) I think this visually beautiful movie feels a little surface. I confess, I watched it mostly out of interest to see what Rachal Hurd-Wood would be like. She’s the actress most frequently put forward as Wynter in the Rebel Prince Competition and this peaked my interest in her. She’s certainly physically suited for the part of Wynter! The photos that have been sent in of her are stunning, and she simply glows in Perfume - but maybe this movie isn’t the best to judge her acting on, as her role seems to consist of opening her eyes wide,  then wider still, then closing her mouth a little bit - but this might have had more to do with the director than herself. I’d like to see her in something else before I make up my mind.

Ben Whishaw in Perfume

Ben Whishaw in Perfume

Mind you, every single actor in the movie Perfume is out shone by Ben Whislow. Boy. Boy oh boy. Boy, oh boy and Wow, can that guy act or what? He has hardly any dialogue at all, almost his entire performance is conveyed via body language and facial expression, and he blew me away. The scene where he realises that his plan has won him only an empty love, the scene where he tries and fails to keep the scent of the dead woman in his hands: Oh, My God. Stunning, it would be worth watching the movie again and again just to see him act the socks off every other member of the cast.

That’s it for me today - and possibly for the next few days as I think I need to crawl under a log and rest for a while. I know I promised you the Finbarr O’Conor tribute posts this week, and I fully intend to do them, but it may have to wait until next week when I have my brain back and I can do justice to them. Til then, adieu my pumpkins! Be good and don’t forget, there’s only five days left until The Rebel Prince Competition is closed. I have no idea how the judges are going to decide this. We have almost 200 photos to choose from and they are all so good. Still - you have five more days, who knows yours may be the one to trump them all.

Rebel Prince Competition Countdown

Rebel Prince Competition Countdown

Bits and Bobs

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Round up time. Here’s where I’ve been browsing and carousing. Beware, linkage looms…



First off, many thanks to Debra Gulea at Debra’s Dolls who took time out from her business yesterday to answer an e-mail from a complete stranger. I wrote to Debra as part of my research into the internal mechanisms of  1890’s talking dolls. Instead of deleting my message as SPAM, she sent me back more than enough information to prevent me making an ass of myself. (well - in regards to talking dolls I won’t make an ass of myself. Debra’s not responsible for any other stupidities I may perpetrate in the new book.)

Thanks again, Debra. I have the body being squeezed now, and not tilted as it was before :)

Second, I found myself engaged in a very interesting discussion on Meg Roscoff’s Blog. Meg took exception to the rather, shall we say fluffy tone of the Queen of Teen. Lots of very interesting opinions were aired and shared in the comments section. Some of which were mine.

Bits and Bobs the Third: Most folk know I love Raych’s book reviews over at booksidoneread. They know because I pimp her mercilessly at every chance ( though I live in fear that she shall one day eviscerate one of my babies.) Not only is she charming, witty and super super intelligent  but she’s also hilarious. To wit, the animated gif she uses to illustrate  just how hard to grasp she found Catherynne M Valente’s The Orphan’s Tales: In The Night Garden. I tried to load the gif for you my ownself - but unlike Raych I am neither witty nor intelligent.

Forth: Another person I mercilessly pimp is the ever interesting Aishwarya. I love her posts, especially the wonderful occasional postings of her YofL column from the New Indian Express. She has, however, become a liability to my time, as her posts tend to lead me to others which lead me to others which etc etc etc, until my morning has been frittered away on bettering my mind instead of writing my own drivel. Here is a particularly good example:  from one of Aishwarya’s posts, I found myself at Aadisht Khanna’s hilarious  solution to saving India’s dwindling tiger population ; which in its turn led me to Amit Varma’s thoughtful article on polarization and how the internet can act as an echo chamber to promote extremism. Where I went from there is a tangled spaghetti of popular culture references and interesting political discussion which I will leave you to navigate for yourself.

Finally, entries continue to wend their way me-wise from all points North, South, East and West, as folks compete to be first to read The Rebel Prince. I am loving these photo’s folks! So many different and wonderful ideas as to what Razi, Wynter and Christopher might look like. As Alberon is here to remind you, there are still plenty of days left for those who want to take their time and get it right.


Stephen Fry speaks on the Catholic Church.

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Take twenty minutes and listen to this extraordinarily intelligent man speaking about the Catholic Church.
I have so much respect for him. Thanks to atheistplant for making this wonderful debate ( all of it) available online.